Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

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dangerdan
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Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby dangerdan » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:34 am

Is it plagiarism to copy a rule straight from a case or the casebook into a final exam? My school's academic standards are unclear as to whether this constitutes plagiarism. I am guessing a case is public record but I'm not sure about the casebook. I want to cover all my bases.

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Tanicius
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby Tanicius » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:47 am

dangerdan wrote:Is it plagiarism to copy a rule straight from a case or the casebook into a final exam? My school's academic standards are unclear as to whether this constitutes plagiarism. I am guessing a case is public record but I'm not sure about the casebook. I want to cover all my bases.


You're not coming up with new content - you're citing to a rule that the case came up with. Of course it isn't plagiarism.

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cinephile
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby cinephile » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:10 am

Believe it or not, our professor told us she wants a cite to the page number in the casebook if we're referencing (not even directly copying) a case. So it's just easier to include page numbers like 200-205 in my outline next to the line nonfeasance, or whatever.

Probably the best thing to do is ask your professor.

mrloblaw
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby mrloblaw » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:21 am

Plagiarism? Not with proper citation. This really should be common sense, but whether or not extensive direct quoting is appropriate is dependent on the source material. Rules or statutes? The precise language matters: quote, unless it's obscenely long/cumbersome. Cases, treaties, etc.? The whole idea of law school is that you're supposed to be synthesizing and amalgamating these into a general understanding of THE LAW. Paraphrase, unless it's an important phrase ("Fair play and substantial justice" from Int'l Shoe, not your own term).

I think most professors, if pressed, would say something almost identical to the above. They'll get annoyed if you throw down a bunch of fifty word case quotations, but don't make up the UCC from memory as you go along.

thegrayman
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby thegrayman » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:35 am

I haven't seen citations other than the case name on model answers before, interesting Q.

I would assume that you wouldn't have to cite? You're going to be so pressed for time, is this a take-home exam or something?

BeenDidThat
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby BeenDidThat » Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:04 am

EDIT: Now that I wrote a fucking epic post for a simple question, I just read the question posed by the poster above me >_<. If this is a take-home, throw what I said out the window, because it is, pretty much, an academic paper. In that case, your professor should have told you what kind of citation they wanted. If it's the standard fact pattern, in-class speed test, read the encyclopedia I wrote below.

You aren't writing an academic paper; you're involved in a speed-writing exam to demonstrate your knowledge of the case law and analyze a novel fact pattern in light of that law. You should be copying standards of review and important "magic language" straight from cases. At least with my professors, you're generally fine if you refer to such tests or standards of review by the common name of the case from which it's derived, for example:

The first issue in this case is whether the FBI violated D's 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when they obtained his statement on the night in question. Under Miranda, law enforcement officials must inform individuals in their custody of their right to remain silent, that words they say may be used in court against them, that they have a right to counsel, and that if they cannot afford counsel, the government will provide them with an attorney. In this case, the FBI agents stormed D's house, put him in handcuffs, and told him that he was under arrest; he was in custody (NOTE: this could be more complicated as there is jurisprudence on what constitutes "custody," but it depends on what you've learned, etc.). The record does not indicate that the agents gave D any warning regarding his rights prior to asking him, "did you kill Senator BillBob?" While the gov't may argue that their mere arrest of D should have put him on notice of his rights, such an argument is unavailing because Miranda specifically requires gov't agents to inform suspects of their rights precisely because these rights are so fundamental that even those who are generally unaware of them must be notified of them in order to exercise them. Therefore, because the agents failed to inform D of any of the rights protected by the 5th Amendment and Miranda prior to D saying, "I don't know, but I shot at him," D's statement is fruit of the poisonous tree and therefore should be excluded at trial.

NOTE: In the hypothetical scenario where you don't remember the case name, include as much identifying information as you can. That could be by mentioning some of the facts of that case, or just by referring to the statutory or constitutional authority from which it derives; in my hypothetical, the 5th Amendment. Ideally, you'd include the case name, but, sans a professor specifically prohibiting using tests without naming the case, you'd be absolutely insane not to use the test from a case that you forget the name of. It demonstrates that, even if, in the heat of the exam, you forget the case name, you know the law, you know the policy concerns driving the law, and you know how to apply the law to a fact pattern.

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jessuf
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby jessuf » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:16 pm

Are you copying word-for-word? My crim law professor said anytime you use words that aren't your own, such as a definition or rule from a case or treatise, you have to cite or otherwise it's plagiarism. She just said it isn't a big deal if your citations are wonky.

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leobowski
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby leobowski » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:19 pm

If you're using the exact language, use quotes and put the case name in parentheses. Example: "I jizzed in my pants" (lonely island).

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Copying straight from casebook or cases on an exam.

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:01 pm

The more fundamental question is why you would do this.




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